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News just in: the Cubs have announced that Mike Quade will not be the manager next year.

Mike Quade

I like Mike Quade. He is a stand-up guy. He shoots from the hip when talking with the media, and I like that.  He is a great bench coach/assistant coach.  He was, however, not ready to manage at the Major League level.  Happy Trails Mike. I hope you find a great job elsewhere in baseball.

It is now time for Ryno-Watch.  Dear Theo and Jed, please hire Ryne Sandberg now.

Ryne Sandberg Signing an Autograph for me

Ryne Sandberg is exactly what the Cubs need.  He is a superb baseball player and manager.  He has done exceedingly well managing in all levels of minor-league ball, and he is ready for the MLB.

Ryne Sandberg HOF

Ryne Sandberg Stats:

10x All-Star

9x Golden Glove

.989 Career Fielding Percentage (Number 1 all time of Second Basemen)

7x Silver Slugger

1984 NL MVP

2005 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee

To quote an earlier post:

Ryne Sandberg is the perfect candidate for the new Cubs manager.  They should sign him for ten years and let him work his magic.  Ryne Sandberg is one of the classiest guys to ever pick up a bat.  This picture is when he signed a ball for me while coaching for the Tennessee Smokies.  He should have been hired as the manager last year, but Jim Hendry went with the emotional decision…Mike Quade.  Ryno has proven that he can manage – and manage well.  He is the best second baseman of all time, and Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro would quickly stop making errors under this .989 lifetime fielding percentage player.  He also has a thing or two to teach these modern players that don’t want to sign autographs and are more concerned with making money than playing ball.  He is a fan favorite, and his hiring would rejuvenate the Cubs team and fan base.  Mr. Ricketts, make Ryne Sandberg the manager now.  Thank you.

Until later friends…

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The regular season is over.  It took the full 162 games to decide the playoff contenders, but now it is time for the playoffs.  I was sorry to see the Red Sox and Braves utterly collapse.

The Red Sox and Braves utterly collapsed. (These photos belong to professional photographers and can be found with a basic google search)The Cubs are my absolute favorite team.  Other than the Cubs, I cheer for the Red Sox and the Braves, and I cheer against the Yankees.  So, this was not a great week for me as a baseball fan.  I am very excited to see what the Cubs will do this offseason.  I think they are going to make some good hires (and some good fires).  I have some suggestions for the Cubs’ success, which I think should be heeded.  But today is not about the Cubs.  Today is about the 8 teams left in the playoffs.  So congratulations to the playoff contenders.  The final standings look like this:

National League Standings 2011

American League Standings 2011

I made my predictions at the beginning of the season, but I only correctly picked the Phillies, Rangers, Yankees, and, if you don’t count my shameless placing of the Cubs, the Brewers to make the playoffs.  Now it is time for the playoffs.  Here are my picks for the MLB 2011 Playoffs:

MLB 2011 Playoff Bracket

Here is my reasoning:

Phillies vs. Cardinals:

Even a team with the likes of Pujols, Holliday, and Berkman will not be able to beat the rotation of Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels.  Halladay and Lee are almost untouchable in October.  With them on the same team, there is no way they lose any series.

Roy Halladay is a beast

Brewers vs. Diamondbacks

Zach Greinke + Prince Fielder beats this young Diamondbacks team, although it will be close.

National League Championship – Brewers vs. Phillies

The Brewers have decent pitching, but the Phillies have phenomenal pitching.  Brewers might win one…maybe two games.

Cliff Lee Home Run

Yankees vs. Tigers

Yankees pitching is weak.  Justin Verlander is amazing.  I hate the Yankees, so I am cheering for them to fail.  This is the most emotional of my playoff picks

Well-bred Young Men Hate the Yankees

Rangers vs. Rays

The Rays are good, but the Rangers have been consistently good in the playoffs.  I expect the Rangers to win a close series.

Texas Rangers are Winners

American League Championship – Rangers vs. Tigers

The Tigers will be exhausted after facing the Yankees, and the Rangers have Josh Hamilton.

Josh Hamilton at bat

World Series – Phillies vs. Rangers

Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee will dominate the Rangers.  It will be a sight to behold.

Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee Phillies

That’s all my baseball talk for today. Until later friends…

Happy International Literacy Day.

How to read a bookToday is International Literacy Today.  If you are reading this, you are literate.  Many people in the world (even many in the US) are illiterate.  I love reading, and I am thankful that my parents raised me to love reading.  I think literacy-building programs are great.  I used to help elementary kids that struggled with reading, and I recommend for you to do the same.  It is not that difficult to help, and if you have the time, volunteering your time to help the next generation is a very honorable thing to do.  In honor of International Literacy Day, I would like to give you a list of ten of books that I have enjoyed over the past couple of years.

Ten Books I’ve Enjoyed in the Last Two Years (and You Might Like Them Too)

(In No Particular Order)

1. Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Non-fiction/Theology)

I have blogged about this book before (Life Together), so I won’t say much about it.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of my heroes.  In my opinion, this book is one of his best.  I highly recommend it.

2. The Final Solution: A Story of Detection by Michael Chabon (Fiction/Mystery)

Micahel Chabon Final SolutionThis is a great detective story.  Michael Chabon is a superb writer.  There were times that I would interrupt Jen from whatever she was doing to read her a paragraph from this just to share the wonderful prose Chabon had produced (nerdy I know).  This is a detective story set during the Holocaust era (hence “Final Solution).  The detective is a once-great, now old and feeble detective (meant to be Sherlock Holmes), and this is his final case (hence “Final Solution”).  It is a very short book, and it is well worth the time to read it.

3.  American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham (Non-Fiction/Biography)

American Lion Andrew JacksonI am not an American history buff, so I can’t really critique the history of this book.  I can say that I enjoyed it, and that it won the Pulitzer.  I have blogged at least twice about the manliness of Andrew Jackson.  Although I differ from Andrew Jackson in some ways politically, I respect him as a man and a leader.

4. That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis (Fiction)

That Hideous StrengthI just recently read C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy.  I have been wanting to read them for almost 10 years, and I finally got around to it this summer.  I was not disappointed.  I recommend reading all three.  That Hideous Strength is the third volume, and, I think, the best.  It is a book about the clash of worldviews and the academy.  It is very entertaining, and Lewis’s pithy humor shines forth throughout.

5.  A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken (Non-Fiction/Auto-biography)

A Severe MercyThis book is beautiful.  It tells the story of a couple and their journey of faith and suffering.  It is well-written, and you will cry if you read it.

6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (Fiction)

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows BookI loved reading the entire Harry Potter series (even though most of it was via audio-book). And yes, I am a Christian and I like Harry PotterDeathly Hallows was a great book.  It tied the story together well, and it was LOADS BETTER than the movies.

7. Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity by Mark Noll (Non-Fiction/Christian History)

Turning Points by Mark NollThis is my favorite general Church History book.  Mark Noll is a superb historian – and a friendly person.  I have recently been in some correspondence with Mark Noll, and I have found him to be extremely personable.  This book is a great introduction to Christian history.  I have read it twice in the past three years, and I recommend it to anyone interested in Christian history.

8. The Code: Baseball’s Unwritten Rules and Its Ignore-at-Your-Own-Risk Code of Conduct by Ross Bernstein (Non-fiction/Sports)

The Code: Baseball's Unwritten RulesIf you like baseball, you’ll love this book.  It answers all the great questions like: “When should you charge the mound?” or “Is it ok to steal signs?”  I love the cover too.  Nolan Ryan is a beast.  There are a score of great stories in this book from former and active players, coaches, and umpires.

9. For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest Against Hitler by Victoria Barnett (Non-Fiction/History)

For the Soul of the PeopleVictoria Barnett’s work on the Confessing Church is great.  This book details the resistance of people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Niemoeller, and Karl Barth to the Nazi regime.  It has proven invaluable to my research, and I heartily recommend it to you history buffs out there.

10. When Chicago Ruled Baseball: The Cubs-White Sox World Series of 1906 by Bernard A. Weisberger (Non-Fiction/Sports)

When Chicago Ruled BaseballI love history, I love baseball, and I love the Cubs. So, this book was a great purchase for me.  It is very interesting reading about a World series where tickets cost less than a drink at a MLB game now.  This World Series featured Tinker, Evers, and Chance, as well as Mordecai Brown and other great players.

Happy International Literacy Day. Go read a book.

Until later friends…

Links to Get These Books

Marlon Byrd's New Batting Helmet - (July 8, 2011 - Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America) Today is Marlon Byrd‘s birthday.  Happy Birthday Marlon.  I’ll admit it, I was unfamiliar with Marlon Byrd when the Cubs acquired him, but I am so glad they did.  Marlon Byrd is legit.  He has an excellent work-ethic.  I love that I can always count on him to do everything he can to make a play.  He hustles when he makes contact, and he sacrifices his body to make plays in center field.  He is a true veteran that has played on several teams, and has earned respect from everyone along the way.

Marlon Byrd Has ClassHe was great in the All-Star last game (even if Joey Votto was a royal jerk towards him).  He made a spectacular put-out on David Ortiz, and he scored the winning run.  That couldn’t have happened to a classier guy, and I was thrilled for him.

I was at the game where Marlon Byrd got hit in the face by a fastball.  It hurt from where I was in the outfield seats.  I was scared that it could be the end of his career.  Seriously, people have died that way.  Remember the Kirby Puckett beanball?

Marlon Byrd BeanedI am so glad to see Marlon Byrd playing again.  Especially with the sweet custom-helmet he is wearing (see picture at the top).  Marlon Byrd exudes manliness and class. I hope he has a great birthday today by beating the San Francisco Giants.

Happy Birthday Marlon

Until later friends…

Marlon’s BlogThe Byrd’s Nest

Jim Hendry Dismissed as Cubs GM

In case you haven’t heard, Jim Hendry was dismissed as the Chicago Cubs General Manager.  In other words, Jim Hendry got fired.  Why did Jim Hendry get fired? Because the Cubs have royally stunk for the past two years.  Jim Hendry did some great stuff in his career with the Cubs.  The Cubs won three division titles under him, and he signed such players as Kerry Wood, Derrek Lee, Starlin Castro, and Darwin Barney.  However, he also signed Alfonso Soriano and Milton Bradley.  Between Sammy Sosa storming out under his lead, Soriano being the most lazy player in the league, Milton Bradley being Milton Bradley, and Kosuke Fukudome never living up to his hype, Jim Hendry had awful luck with outfielders.  Other than that, and the atrocious record the Cubs have had the past two seasons, Hendry was a decent GM.  I met him personally in Boston, and he was great.  Everyone in the organization has a lot of respect for him.  The team just didn’t win enough games under him.  He finished with a 749-748 career with the Cubs.  I’m glad he got to leave with a winning record (that’s better than the Cubs are going to do this season).  He also left with class.  After receiving notice of his dismissal, he stayed with the team long enough to trade away Fukudome (thank you), and sign some great young talent from the draft.  So…Happy Trails to you Jim. Thanks for the good memories.  Good luck with some American League team.

The question remains…So, now what?

Here are my suggestions to make this team a playoff contender, and eventually, a world series champion team.

1. Hire Andrew Friedman as General Manager

The Cubs need to hire Andrew Friedman

Remember when the Tampa Bay Rays were awful? That was before Andrew Friedman.  He has made them what they are.  He does not blow money on stupid contracts (like Alfonso Soriano’s).  He builds a good team around good young players.  This is exactly the kind of guy we need in Chicago.

2.  Get rid of Mike Quade and Hire Ryne Sandberg

Mike QuadeThis is not just me being bitter about my childhood hero getting passed over last year.  Quade did ok at the end of last season winning games that didn’t matter.  He has proven this season though that he does not have what it takes to manage a professional team.  He’s a great assistant coach.  He’d make a great bench coach, but not a manager.  He does not have a good grasp on how to manage a pitcher.  He alternately leaves pitchers in three batters too long, or takes them out an inning early.  His hiring was my biggest problem with Jim Hendry, and now that it is time for a new GM, I think it is time for a new manager.

Ryne Sandberg Signing an Autograph for me

Ryne Sandberg is the perfect candidate for the new Cubs manager.  They should sign him for ten years and let him work his magic.  Ryne Sandberg is one of the classiest guys to ever pick up a bat.  This picture is when he signed a ball for me while coaching for the Tennessee Smokies.  He should have been hired as the manager last year, but Jim Hendry went with the emotional decision…Mike Quade.  Ryno has proven that he can manage – and manage well.  He is the best second baseman of all time, and Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro would quickly stop making errors under this .989 lifetime fielding percentage player.  He also has a thing or two to teach these modern players that don’t want to sign autographs and are more concerned with making money than playing ball.  He is a fan favorite, and his hiring would rejuvenate the Cubs team and fan base.  Mr. Ricketts, make Ryne Sandberg the manager now.  Thank you.

3.  Do Whatever We Have to do to Get Rid of Alfonso Soriano and His Ridiculous Contract!

Alfonso Soriano is incredibly lazy

Alfonso Soriano has the worst work-ethic in all of professional sports. OK, that might be a bit harsh, but he at least makes the top 5.  He does not care at all.  He is fast, can knock the cover off the ball, and has a great arm.  Yet, he misses routine fly balls, and he averages 1 less base per hit than he should (Come on dude, you’re being paid 18 million. HUSTLE FOR GOODNESS SAKES!!!!!).  His contract his hamstringing this organization.  To quote Ted Williams, “If I was getting paid $30,000 [or 18 MILLION!!!] a year, the least I could do is hit .400.”  Let’s find a way to get rid of him, even if we have to eat a chunk of his contract.  We have Brett Jackson, and I’m sure we can afford another decent outfielder that hustles like Reed Johnson.

4.  Teach Carlos Marmol to Throw Strikes or Trade Him to Someone Who Believes He Can.

Carlos Marmol Throwing a Wicked SliderWhen Marmol is on his A-game, no one can touch his slider.  When he is not, he can’t throw a strike to someone with the strike zone the size of Andre the Giant.  Someone either needs to teach him to throw somewhere near the plate, or we need to trade him when his trade value is up.  Sorry Jim Hendry, but you never should have deemed him “untouchable.”

5.  Build Around the Young Guys – Especially Castro and Barney

Darwin Barney and Starlin CastroThese kids are going to be great.  Sign them to long contracts, and let’s build the team around them.  Don’t be concerned with all the errors they’ve made this season, they’ll get better defensively if Ryne Sandberg is their manager.  These guys have the potential of being a double-play combo on the same plane as other Cubs greats Tinker and Evers or Sandberg and Dunston.

6. Do Whatever We Can to Make Greg Maddux our Pitching Coach

Make Greg Maddux the Cubs Pitching Coach

Maddux is one of the best pitchers of the past 50 years.  He was dominant and brilliant.  Please bring him in.  If he were to coach the Cubs’ pitchers, I bet even Jeff Samardzija could be good.  The Cubs’ two greatest deficiencies this year are defense and pitching.  Ryne Sandberg and Greg Maddux could fix both of those in under a year – fact.

7.  Do not go after Albert Pujols

Jim Hendry hugging Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols is an incredible player.  He will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but I’m begging the Cubs to not spend $30 mil/year on him.  With our luck, he will get injured and his numbers will decline – just like Alfonso Soriano.  Let’s take that $30mil/year and go after three (or four) young and talented players that have their best years ahead of them.

If my beloved Cubbies follow my advice, we will have winning seasons for the next ten years and at least 2 World Series appearances.  Let’s go Cubbies! Until later friends…

cubs-logo

Irascible

1.  easily provoked to anger; very irritable

2. characterized or produced by anger

Example: Although Carlos Zambrano has earned a reputation of being an  irascible hothead, I think his outbursts point to his love of the game, and I appreciate that.

PS – Go Cubbies! I hope Big Z no-hits the Sox today.

Until later friends…

Today, I will continue on with my Fields of Dreams blog series.  In my last post in this series I talked about the first Cubs vs. Red Sox game we went to, and what a shellacking it was. Friday night after game 1, we didn’t get back to the hotel till around 1:00am.  On Saturday, we got up and went on a Duck Tour of Boston, which was a lot of fun.


After we finished riding a duck around, we met up with my friend Matt.  He gave us a walking tour and took us to a cool coffee shop called Thinking Cup (where I had a nice cup of Kenya from a Bee House).  After that, we went to Fenway for a tour.  The tour was fun, and we got to watch some of the Red Sox batting practice.  After the tour, I looked for a t-shirt for Jen.  While walking down Yawkey Way, I ran into Bill “Spaceman” Lee.  He was very friendly – even though I was wearing all Cubs gear.

Bill "Spaceman" Lee

Once again, I waded my way through the crowd to get close to batting practice.  This time I changed my strategy and went to left field.  I was really hoping to get Kerry Wood to sign a ball, but he never came close.  I did, however, get to meet 1984 Gold-Glove winning Bob Dernier.  He was super friendly, and he signed stuff for a lot of people (would you really expect any less of a teammate of Ryne Sandberg?).

Now onto the game.  The game was great.  They decided to celebrate that this was the first series these two teams played at Fenway since 1918 by wearing throwback jerseys.

Carlos Zambrano started for the Cubs and Alfredo Aceves started for the Red Sox.  We were seated in center field for this game, and it was great.  Whereas Boston had jumped out to an early lead the night before, this game started off pretty even.  The first play worth noting was an awful HBP.  In the second inning, a fastball got away from Aceves and hit Marlon Byrd right below the eye.  It hurt from where I was sitting.  It was a really scary moment, and Byrd got taken to the hospital immediately (he is ok now, and hopes to return to play in a couple of weeks).

The Cubs took a 1-0 lead in the third, but then the Sox went up 2-1 in the fourth and 3-1 in the sixth.  I thought for sure the Cubs were going to hand this one in too, but then the 8th inning came.  The Cubs scored 8 runs in the eighth inning to make it a 9-3 game.  It was beautiful.  The Cubs held on to win, and I was very pleased.

One interesting feature of the night was all the references to the 1918 World Series.  In honor of that series, Fenway Park regressed to 1918 technology for two innings.  That meant: no broadcaster announcing names of batters, no digital pitch count or mph for all to see, and the only ball/strike counter was on the Green Monster.  I was keeping score throughout the game, and I became really popular at this point in the game.   It was amazing how quiet the whole park got.  Everyone was intent on watching the game, because they had to in order to know what was going on.  I really liked it.

Overall, it was a great experience.  I loved Boston.  The Boston fans were still friendly, even after the Cubs laid it on the Red Sox that night.  I like Boston as a city, and I recommend that you visit if you haven’t already.  Stay tuned for a post on my first trip to the Bronx.

Until later friends…

This was the first time the Chicago Cubs played at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series.  I was super excited.  Cubs fans and Red Sox fans get along really well.  Up until the BoSox won the World Series in 2004, the Cubs and Red Sox fans had shared decades of misery.  I find it often to be the case that Cubs fans will cheer for the Red Sox and Red Sox fans will cheer for the Cubs, because their games rarely affect one another.  I found Fenway Park to be a very welcoming place.  There were many Cubs fans there, but there was no real trash-talking until people had had their third or fourth $8 beer in the fifth inning.  The atmosphere around Fenway is reminiscent of Wrigleyville, in that everyone for 5 blocks is excited about the ballgame.

Everyone was friendly and in a great mood (except for the heretics standing on the corner proclaiming that Jesus was coming back May 21st).  Dad and I got to the park early, and we went inside as soon as they opened the gates.  I was very excited to discover that we had made it in time to see the Cubs’ batting practice.  I was able to get right up next to the field in my attempt to get autographs, however, there were roped off sections and none of the players came near me.  I did get to meet Jim Hendry (General Manager of the Cubs).  I got my picture taken with him on my phone (which I lost in Philadelphia…bummer).  I abstained from asking him about signing Pujols next year, no need to jinx that just yet.

After batting practice, I went and found my dad and our seats.  We were seated 14 rows back in right field, behind the Cubs’ bullpen.  I enjoyed being behind the bullpen, because I got to see the different pitchers warming up.  The first pitch was thrown out by former Red Sox and Cubs pitcher Dennis Eckersley to the former Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk.  That was really cool to see both of them.

The national anthem was sang by some 10 or 11 year old girl.  It was obvious that she was extremely nervous, but everyone cheered loudly for her, which was nice.  After that, it kinda went all down hill for the Cubs.  The Cubs play was just awful. The Cubs were incapable of throwing strikes, and for some odd reason they continued to put in pitchers that have historically been incapable of throwing strikes.  When they did throw strikes, the Red Sox hit the ball directly at the Green Monster (or over it).  Here is the hideous box score:

The Cubs hit pretty well (especially Jeff Baker who went 4-5 with 2 runs), but they couldn’t hit with guys on base.  Also they committed 4 errors (3 in one inning, yikes).  Despite the awful play of my Cubbies, I enjoyed the game.  I especially enjoyed the singing of Sweet Caroline in the 8th inning, which is a pretty sweet tradition at Fenway Park.  Although I have no idea why they sing “Sweet Caroline” every game at Fenway.  Do any of you?

I also enjoyed the four, mildly drunk fans three rows in front of me singing the Notre Dame fight song to Jeff Samardzija while he warmed up.  They also made many Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders comments towards him.  I cheer for my Cubbies faithfully, but I honestly think Jeff should have stuck with football.

This game – although a blowout of my beloved Cubbies – was a great start to this trip of a lifetime.  I had a blast, and I look forward to telling you about the rest of the trip too.

Until later friends…

You read that title correctly, I did mean to say “Fields.”  Field of Dreams is one of the best baseball movies ever. No question.  It examines the National Pastime and father-son relationships.

I’ve always loved Field of Dreams, and I’ve grown to love it more as I have gotten older.  Unlike Ray Kinsella, I have always had a great relationship with my dad.  Like the Kinsella’s – and many other American fathers and sons – my dad and I have a lot of baseball memories.  I remember playing catch with my dad in the front yard while pretending to be Ryne Sandberg or Nolan Ryan or Mark Grace.  I remember my dad computing my batting average for me when I was playing little league, and explaining to me that a fielder’s choice was not a hit (much to my chagrin).  Dad and I have been wanting to go on a major baseball park tour for a long time, and we finally got to do that last month.  This post (and several subsequent posts) will be about this “Fields of Dreams Baseball Park Tour” as I have decided to call it.  Today, I will give a basic overview, and I will go into more detail for each park in subsequent posts.

May 20-21 – Chicago Cubs at Boston Red Sox

We saw two games at Fenway Park between the Chicago Cubs and the Boston Red Sox.  This was the first time the two teams met in Fenway since the 1918 World Series.  It was a great experience.  Fenway Park was a great ball park – the only ballpark older than Wrigley Field.  The fans were nice, and the traditions were great.  Boston was also a great city for a history nerd like me.

May 22 – New York Mets vs. New York Yankess

Next, we went to New York via the Amtrak to see the Subway Series.  Yankee stadium was ginormous.  It was a really interesting experience.  We sat in the right field bleachers and were neutral observers as the Yankees and Mets fans around us cussed one another out for several hours.  The subway to the Bronx was…interesting.

May 23 – Cincinnati Reds vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Contrary to everything I’ve ever heard about Philadelphia fans – Philadelphia was great.  The fans were super nice.  I was really excited to be there for Chase Utley’s first game of the season following an injury last season (I think he is a super classy player).  Philly was just a great city.  Loved all the historical places.  I also enjoyed getting to go to a couple of quality coffee shops while sporting my Prima Coffee T-Shirt (interestingly the two shops I went to, and had great experiences at, served Stumptown and La Colombe coffee respectively – and those roasters decided to get into a tizzy shortly after I dropped by).

May 24 – Kansas City Royals vs. Baltimore Orioles

I absolutely loved Camden Yards.  We had great seats (as evidenced by the photo above).  The game was also won with a walkoff home run (also evidenced by the photo above).  It was a great experience, and I look forward to blogging more about it.

Overall we had a great trip.  I am looking forward to posting more about each game.  We saw all sorts of great things, and I am so thankful my dad wanted to take me on this trip.  Being away on this trip explains my absence from blogging, but I will now be back in full force. So, stay tuned.

Until later friends…

April 20th.  It is one of those days in history that you have to acknowledge.  I’m sure there are going to be several blogposts around the world today talking about the fact that this day is the anniversary of Hitler‘s birthday and the Columbine shooting.  I don’t really want to blog about Hitler other than to say that he was absolutely evil.  I think it is interesting that in our culture where so many people poo-poo on the idea of applying labels of “evil” and “sin” to people, we can all still agree that Hitler (and Nazism) was evil.  No one can deny that a man brute responsible for the creation of a political system that oversaw the murder of over 6 million people is evil.

In regards to Columbine, I think all of us that witnessed the news coverage that day were changed.  In some way, I know that my worldview changed just a little bit on April 20, 1999.  Five Iron Frenzy (Denver natives) wrote a song about Columbine entitled “A New Hope” that I think characterizes the shock well:

A darker world lies behind this one
Cryptic it hides beneath perception
We all saw it on that day
Stunned we stood stuttering
What did the news say

April 20th is also a day when potheads celebrate their complete apathy towards life, but this is barely worth mentioning.

All of these dark events could lead you to ask, “Does April 20th ever produce anything good?”  In fact, it does.  I have decided to give you a short list of some of the blessings April 20th has bestowed upon the world over the years.

  • 1718 – David Brainerd was born (one of the most influential missionaries ever).
  • 1976 – Joey Lawrence was born, and if he had not been born, we never would have had one of the best catchphrases of the 90s:

  • 1916 – Wrigley Field hosted its first Chicago Cubs game.

  • 1972 – Apollo 16 lands on the moon
  • It is also the birthday of two of my friends Lindsay and Jande, to whom I give a shout out.

So, go make this April 20th a good one! Until later friends…

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